The Jamaica Screen Development Initiative (JSDI) is a financing initiative of the Government of Jamaica (GOJ), which aims to support and strengthen the local screen-based industries by providing a pool of funds accessible for the completion of eligible screen-based projects across various stages of development. Its focus is providing opportunities for new, emerging, and established talent behind the camera to create more, high quality, Jamaican content capable of competing in the global market.

The following four objectives will be used when assessing applications:

  1. Film Financing: Providing an alternative source of financial support for screen-based projects made in Jamaica, spanning local content creation, co-productions and destination films.  
  1. Talent and Industry Development: Increasing jobs while building the capacity of creative and technical practitioners by increasing the number of high-quality, commercially viable projects produced for domestic and global audiences. 
  1. Promotion of Culture: Raising the profile of Jamaica’s screen-based industries and Brand Jamaica internationally, by supporting projects with strong cultural representation and commercial viability. 
  1. Business Opportunities: Promote economic diversification and leverage inward investments, particularly for the film infrastructure.

Call for Projects open on March 18, 2024 and will close on April 28, 2024.  

Applications for grants for film festival and market attendance, marketing and distribution and production support may be made as of March 18, 2024 and will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis


Eligibility Criteria

Applications may be made by an individual, a business or company registered at the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ). The representative applicant must own the project, or be in the process of obtaining the Rights to the project. 

1. Individual Applicants 

  • Must be a Jamaican citizen (by birth, naturalization or citizenship) or ordinarily resident in Jamaica 
  • Must be registered on the National Registry of Entertainment and Creative Industries Practitioners (E-Registry) (managed by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport)​  
  • Must be 18 years of age or older 
  • Must be GOJ tax compliant (at time of contract) 

2. Company Applications 

  • Must be registered at the Companies Office of Jamaica 
  • Be GOJ tax compliant (proof required) 
  • Must be registered on the National Registry of Entertainment and Creative Industries Practitioners (E-Registry) (owned by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport)​  
  • Must be at minimum 51% Jamaican owned 
  • Registered to operate as a production company in audiovisual production activities
  • Will own and control the Copyright and other Rights in the project during development

There may be cases where projects submitted are co-owned by two production companies. In those instances, one company meeting the criteria above should be identified as the lead applicant (for the purposes of completing the application and for receiving any awarded funds). 


3. Application to Fund a Project 

Applications to the Jamaica Screen Development Initiative (JSDI) must: 

  • Have a writer attached at the development phase (having a producer attached will strengthen an application) 
  • Have, at a minimum, a writer and producer attached for any stage post-development  
  • Have secured, or can secure, the Rights (including any underlying Rights) in the project. The Rights do not have to be in place at application stage, provided you are demonstrably confident that you will be able to irrevocably option the rights during development and as a pre-condition, to signing a contract to access funding. 
  • Come from a creative team where the writer, producer and (if applicable) director are all over the age of 18 
  • Relate to live-action or animated work in the following formats, open to all genres: 
  • Feature film which at least 60 minutes in length or more 
  • Short film at least 7 minutes in length but less than 20 minutes 
  • Animated short at least 2 minutes in length but less than 11 minutes 
  • Web series / episodics / mini-series/ reality / unscripted content 

4. Production Support 

Application to the Jamaica Screen Development Initiative (JSDI) for production support is open to local and international productions (where eligibility criteria is superseded by requirements outlined below). Applications will be accepted and assessed on a case-by-case basis and must: 

  • Have a writer, producer and director attached 
  • Engage a local film production company to facilitate in-island logistics and execution of the production hire Jamaican crew: 
  • Minimum of 40% below-the-line Jamaican crew hired 
  • Minimum of 20% hired Above-the-Line, Head of Department, Key Creative, or Lead Talent. 
  • Be wholly or partially set in Jamaica thematically 
  • Have secured, or can secure, the Rights (including any underlying Rights) in the project. The Rights do not have to be in place at application stage provided you are demonstrably confident that you will be able to irrevocably option the rights during development and as a pre-condition to receipt of funding. 

5. Ineligibility Criteria 

You are not eligible to apply to the Jamaica Screen Development Initiative (JSDI) if your application relates to work in the following formats: 

  • Music video, advertisement and/or commercials news, sports or dailies 
  • Work that is intended primarily to capture another art form, such as filmed theatre, sporting or music events, podcasts, livestreams or influencer content 
  • You are seeking funding for a filmed production such as a theatre show, filmed sporting or music event, an artist installation work, an immersive (VR/XR) work or a video game 
  • You have not met the conditions set out above relating to applicant or project eligibility 

6. How many project applications can I make? 

Applicants may submit multiple applications for funding in the following cases: 

  • A single project qualifies for a funding category and also qualifies for subsequent funding categories before April 1, 2025. E.g. a project qualifies for development funding and subsequently qualifies for production and completion funding – resulting in one (1) project, but three (3) applications. 

  • A single project wishes to apply both for the grant and the loan available under a specific category, such as for Development, resulting in two applications. 

  • A single writer or producer has a slate of projects. Each project will require a separate application submission and will be assessed on its own merit. 

  • A project has been selected to be exhibited at multiple film festivals where grant funding would be required. Each film festival acceptance will require a separate application submission and will be assessed on its own merits. 

What is Being Funded? 

How to Apply

Call for Projects open on March 18, 2024 and will close on April 28, 2024.  

Applications for grants for film festival and market attendance, marketing and distribution and production support may be made as of March 18, 2024 and will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis.


General Requirements 

  • Individuals are required to show proof of Jamaican citizenship and residency, while companies are required to show 51% Jamaican ownership.  
  • Tax compliance letter, if available.

Project and Team 

  • Organisation and contact details of the applicant 
  • Your project synopsis 
  • Your creative vision and your aspirations for the film (ideally completed by the writer or director) 
  • Description of the development work carried out to date 
  • CV summaries and previous work of the writer, producer and, if applicable, the director 
  • Links to examples of previous work from your producer, writer and, if applicable, the director 

Production 

  • Information on your current plans for production (if your project is already at a late stage of development), including any ideas you have for casting and Heads of Department 

Finance and Budget 

  • The amount of funding you are seeking from the JSDI for your project’s development stage, alongside its total cost, with an attached budget breakdown of these costs. Your budget should state the stage of development you are requesting (e.g. writing a treatment, first draft, second draft, finance packaging, pre-production, production, post-production, market/festival attendance, marketing and distribution) 
  • An estimate of the anticipated total production  budget  
  • An indication of your anticipated path to production, including a full financing plan. 
  • N.B.  At an early stage of development we do not expect you to be able to fully address all of the above points, but ask that you show us how you are thinking ahead and can envision your route to production and distribution. 

Attachments 

At the end of the form you will be asked to attach: 

  • Work pertaining to the project itself, including but not limited to: a synopsis, a treatment, a visual deck, and/ or a draft script of your project in standard industry format, submitted as a PDF document only. 
  • Your budget 
  • Any other materials relevant to the project, if links were not provided in the previous section 

Resubmission 

Incomplete applications or mission documentation will be viewed as an incomplete submission and will be disqualified. Applicants may resubmit an application once amendments and missing information have been addressed. Should your application be unsuccessful, resubmissions of the same project, with no fundamental adjustments, will not be allowed.  


Evaluation and Selection

All applications submitted will be subject to a validation check to ensure eligibility. Please ensure that all sections of the application have been completed as incomplete applications will be considered ineligible. Should an application be ineligible, correspondence will be sent to the primary applicant advising that the application has not been accepted for consideration. Should an application require amendments, an opportunity to amend and resubmit an application may be extended to the applicant. Please note that this opportunity is discretionary at the validation phase.

How your application is assessed 

Validated applications will be assessed by an evaluation committee comprised of a panel of nine (9) local and international film industry experts possessing the requisite knowledge and expertise to evaluate applications and provide recommendations for the award of funding. 

Process and Timeline 

  • Call for Content (March 18 – April 28). Applications are open to the public. Application forms and document checklist may be downloaded from this website (link to “How to Apply’ section) 
  • Application Validation (April 29 – May 10). Applications will be reviewed for eligibility. They will either be accepted or declined based on the criteria outlined. 
  • Review of Applications (May 10 – August 7). Validated applications will be assessed by the evaluation committee. An applicant or project team may be invited to make a presentation to the evaluation team where further clarification is required. 
  • Notification of Awards (August 12 – August 16). Successful applicants will be notified of selection and provided with contract documentation for review. 
  • Signing of Contracts (August 19 – August 30). Final contracts are signed in-lieu of disbursement. .

Assessment Criteria 

Track Record of the Applicant  Demonstrated track record and ability of the creative/ team to progress development, execute production or market completed projects. ​ Track record of production company / individual​ Track record of creative team (including director, writer and key cast) ​. Business viability of applicant company.
Feasibility of the Project Feasibility of the project with respect to budget, financing, schedule and scope.​ Creative & Commercial  merit of the project and potential for critical and commercial success (originality, quality and production-readiness of the script, and the director’s vision for the film or the quality of the footage. 
Commercial Attractiveness and Viability Demonstration of market interests and global marketing strategy. Includes: marketing and business plan with intended audience, marketability and international sales and distribution potential, with any letters proving market interest.  
Potential Benefits to Jamaica and the Jamaican Film Industry Benefits to the Jamaican economy, including:  ​Projected Jamaican expenditures, number of Jamaicans employed in the production process​, total projected number of days of employment for Jamaicans​ Ownership by Jamaicans and cultural value to Jamaica.

If your application is successful, you will: 

  • Be notified of selection and provided with contract documents for review. 
  • Need to sign the contract and submit all required documentation by August 30, 2024 .

If your application is unsuccessful, you will: 

  • Be notified of the Evaluation Committee’s decision.
  • Be encouraged to review and refine an application for the next Call for Projects.

Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be informed in writing of a decision by August 16. 

General Information

While compliance with these guidelines as outlined is a prerequisite to eligibility for application to the Jamaica Screen Development Initiative (JSDI), the JSDI has full discretion in the application of, or exception to, these guidelines, to ensure that the awarding of funds is provided to those projects that meet its spirit and intent. 

Chain of title and clearance agreements 

You will need to establish Intellectual Property Rights ownership of your project prior to first payment, including obtaining an assignment of all Rights in the project (excluding stage, radio and novelisation Rights which may be reserved to the writer); all Rights from any other contributors to the film and, if applicable, an option, licence or assignment over certain rights in any underlying work (the screenplay itself does not count as an underlying work). You should obtain your own legal advice in relation to chain of title and clearance documents for your project. 

If you are unable to obtain the required Rights to make the film, our offer of funding will lapse and we will not be able to reimburse any costs (such as legal fees) that you have already incurred. 

Credit

All projects produced subsequent to receiving support from the Jamaica Screen Development Initiative (JSDI) will be required to provide a credit to the JSDI, including the JDSI and/or Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) logos.